NETHERLANDS – PGGM, the second largest Dutch pension fund, has set up a new independent company to provide individual savings and investment products to the 1.1m employees in the health care sector.

With the new company the health care scheme will be entering into direct competition with banks and insurers which have had the market for themselves until now. The new subsidiary will be called Careon.

According to a spokesman, healthcare workers will be able to become a client of the new entity from January 1 2006 for the new levensloop, or life-course, arrangements.

PGGM said in a statement that Careon would aim to be market leader. It expects 60% of all health care employees to opt for a levensloop arrangement, of which PGGM expects to take 45%.

According to PGGM chief financial officer Rene van der Kieft, 45% of total levensloop arrangements in the sector will be Careon clients, which would mean that Careon in the next seven years could have a total investment volume of around €2bn.

PGGM told IPE that the new company would be totally independent. According to the new legal framework presented by the government, pension funds are not allowed to provide members’ personal information to the new company.

And PGGM will not be allowed to provide Careon information to individual members.

According to PGGM director Heino van Essen: “Careon will be a subsidiary of PGGM with separate financial and information streams.”

Meanwhile, social affairs minister Jan Aart de Geus has warned pension funds to concentrate only on their core business.

According to de Geus, pension funds are only allowed to provide pension payments and other direct associated products.